96th Grand-prix François Faber
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Loïc Bettendorff dominated with head and shoulders this 96th edition of the Grand-prix François Faber, winning solo with a few seconds advantage over Tom Paquet and Joé Michotte. Although he was not part of the inaugural break of the day, the national cyclo-cross champion bridged up to the front before mid-race and imposed his law afterwards, at an average speed of nearly 40 km/h on a demanding circuit.

The sun made a timid appearance in the sky above Bech on that morning of 24 March 2019, and the temperatures were about 15 degrees higher than last year's at this time, when the snow had almost annihilated the 95th edition of the Doyenne of Luxemburg cycling history. The mild temperatures had attracted a large bunch of riders, with nearly 40 units at the start, meaning about fifteen more than twelve months ago. After a few kilometers of warm-up, the battle did not take long to start: four riders wanted to stretch their legs after the long winter break and took off at the front: the always very offensive Tom Paquet from VC Hettange Grande, Mik Esser from CT Atertdaul, Jérôme Jentgen of UC Dippach and the courageous masters rider Pascal Quievreux, of the Sprinter Club Sillon Mosellan. Another rider in the Masters category, Boris Odendahl, also tried to join the top four with a nice solo effort, but without success.

After two laps of the race, the lead of the four men was close to one minute and, for some of the title favourites, it was time to react if they didn't want to miss their chance. Loïc Bettendorff accelerated in the peloton, which split into several parts, and he brought with him six other riders: Joé Michotte, Mats Wenzel, Gilles Miny, Jacques Gloesener, Simon Quievreux and Rafael Perreira. These seven riders started the chase of the leading group and quickly gained an advantage on about fifteen other competitors, who eventually formed the meagre main peloton of the race. After two laps of pursuit, the seven made the junction with the four in front, now forming a new leading group, of which Simon Quievreux was unfortunately left behind a little later.

German Jan-Marc Temmen tried to join this group, but found himself alone for a few kilometers before having to admit defeat. Shortly after mid-race, they were ten in the lead: Loïc Bettendorff, Mats Wenzel and Mik Esser from CT Atertdaul, Jérôme Jentgen and Gilles Miny from UC Dippach, as well as Joé Michotte (Velo Woolz), Jacques Gloesener (Tooltime Preizerdaul), Rafael Perreira (LC Tétange), Tom Paquet (VC Hettange Grande) and Pascal Quievreux, from the Lorraine region. They were already more than two minutes ahead of a small peloton, led by masters Olivier Zirnheld, Serge Bertemes and Boris Odendahl, or the few German and Dutch juniors who had missed the right group at the front.

In the last three laps of the race, Loïc Bettendorff took the race in his hands with several successive accelerations. With 25 kilometers to go, the member of the CT Atertdaul attacked for the first time, taking Joé Michotte and Tom Paquet with him, with the only Jérôme Jentgen still able to come back a little further. A little over ten kilometers later, the 45th of the last cyclo-cross world championships set a fierce pace again and broke away on his own, while there were still two complete laps of 9.3 kilometers to go. Alone against three pursuers, with his head down in the handlebar and his nose in the wind, the leader never managed to widen the gap on his chasers, but nevertheless held them off until the end, even taking lots of time to celebrate the victory before the line. At the end, Loïc Bettendorff won the Grand-prix Faber 2019 with a four-second lead over Tom Paquet, who was faster than Michotte and Jentgen in the sprint for second spot. At more than four minutes, the brave Pascal Quievreux finished ninth and first rider in the Masters category, after spending most of the day at the front. The small main peloton led by Jan-Marc Temmen finished more than 7 minutes behind the winner.

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